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4 die after being buried by snow in Yamagata

19 Comments

Four people died in separate incidents while removing snow at their homes in Yamagata Prefecture on Friday and Saturday.

The first incident occurred at around 4 p.m. Friday in Mogami, Fuji TV reported. An 87-year-old man was found buried under snow in front of a shed near his home. A snow blower was beside him. Police believe snow fell off the shed roof onto him.

In the second incident which occurred on Friday night in Yonezawa, a 65-year-old woman was found buried under about 1.7 meters of snow at around 6:30 p.m. Police said it appeared she had been clearing snowing from the garage roof when she slipped and fell. She was in a state of cardiac arrest and was taken to hospital where she was pronounced dead.

The third death occurred on Saturday afternoon in Obanazawa. An 88-year-old woman was found buried under snow in front of her home just after 12 noon. Police said she had a shovel with her.

In the fourth incident, a 77-year-old woman and a shovel were found beneath snow outside her house by her son at around 8:30 p.m. in the town of Asahi. The woman was taken to hospital where she was pronounced dead.

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19 Comments
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Sorry for the victims. The factor with removal of heavy snow tends to be the unexpectedly significant physical effort that an elder person otherwise manages to avoid.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Sorry for them. Same accidents happen every year in snowy areas. Many hire snow clearers but those who cannot afford do by themselves. Many new houses have flat roofs. It was unthinkable until recently. New houses are made heat goes round the entire house buildings so that snow melt on roofs and does not accumulate.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Why do they go out in this weather to remove the snow!? Every year...

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

foreignbrotherhoodarmy

They have to clear snow to make walk ways to outside. My house in Akita has about 5 meters to the gate. Also, they clear snow before the snow piles up and become hard and heavy.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Why do they go out in this weather to remove the snow!?

Because it has snowed in Yamagata that much in the past week, and it’s still snowing now. If they don’t remove snow now, more will pile up. They have to be able to get out of their houses. Leave the snow in the roof, and they risk more dangerous falls of snow from the roof or even collapse of the roof.

People don’t do this for fun, but out of necessity.

16 ( +17 / -1 )

Make snow removers available for rental with free delivery.¥500 per day, morning drop off and afternoon pick up. Full tank of gas subsidized by county.

Snow removing service ¥1000 for paths around the house. ¥1500 including roof. Get the kids to earn some money after school.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

The reason the oldies need to do it is because the 'kids' move from the snowy areas to the big cities away from snow. Sometimes you notice they leave the snow clearing until Sunday when the kids (often adults) come back home to help out.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

quercetumToday 06:45 pm JST

Make snow removers available for rental with free delivery.¥500 per day, morning drop off and afternoon pick up. Full tank of gas subsidized by county.

Snow removing service ¥1000 for paths around the house. ¥1500 including roof. Get the kids to earn some money after school.

I am happy to see someone come up with constructive ideas.

There are snow removal services already. DUSKIN runs one.

However, a truck, snow-remover and staff going to remote houses is not as easy or as inexpensive as you might think. 500 yen to remove the snow from a roof?

Once the snow is pushed off the roof it then needs to be removed from around the house. Most houses have gardens with hidden obstacles (gnomes) which means that you can't just whizz in with a Bobcat.

This years snowfalls (which have just started ), mean that even if you remove the snow today, you can be back to square one in a couple of days.

Get the kids to earn some money after school.

Four people dead shows that this is a rather dangerous undertaking. I would not be volunteering my kids for this type of after school activity. Some universities like Yamagata Dai have volunteer circles that remove snow.

gary

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Those snow machines are not all they're cracked out to be. They have to shoot the snow out somewhere, usually it's a couple of feet away. If there's a wind, it blows the snow right back. The machines are good for fields or if you have a large open space

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Time local towns paid younger folks to do this work.

But old folks are very independent and don't like to ask for help.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

RIP. Big snow this week, so plenty of shoveling to do.

Snowblowers are effective, mine certainly is, but they are also dangerous and user error can result in very serious accidents. The danger ramps up when the snow is deep and when you are operating one in a tight space between buildings or walls. They are not the type of machines you should just hire out and assume the person will be able to operate safely. The controls are different for different makes, so they all take some getting used to. Reverse it by mistake and you can easily crush yourself against a wall.

Metal storage sheds sold in snow zones are spec'd for 1m of snow on them, houses can take much more, but I suspect most locals round here would up there shoveling at 50cm. 20cm is enough for my next door neighbour, who has also repainted the roof twice in ten years, even the north side that gets no UV. A bit more reluctance to get up on roofs would be good for safety's sake. Very few people bother to rope up when they do it. They don't even secure the ladder.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Roofs collapsing because of snow? I call horse manure. The snow will slide off long before that happens. Getting snowed in, however...

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

I think there is another issue hidden in these cases. All of them are elderly. Aging population in these regions lead to the incident. Unless this long term issue is solved, we will have to watch these sad reports on the media.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Issue is young people left or no young people anymore.

Time to move yo more favorable areas.

When retiring, I don't intend to risk physically my life every day or so.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Would under roof-tile heating work in these types of situations ? You switch it on during heavy snow seasons, and snow does not settle.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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